From the clay to the finished brick - our production
As a natural product the basic material of our bricks consists up to 90 % out of clay and up to 10 % out of sand. 90 % of this clay comes out of the local region as the so named 'Elbmarschton'. The remaining 10 % are added out of clay of the Westerwald. This mix raitio is most important therefore that the billet will not crack while dried in the drying chambers.
In the first step clay and sand are mixed up in the charger. In earlier times this happened by hand but today this work does our wheel-mounted front-end loader.
The mixture out of clay and sand is now carried in the mixer, called 'Kollergang'.
In the 'Kollergang' our mixture is mixed up with water while the two 5.000 kg heavy barrelwheels crush down stones and clay chunks. From the 'Kollergang' the clay is transported to the mill and screw compressor.
In the upper part, the mill, the clay is crushed down to 2 mm small grains. The pollution has now gone. Afterwards the clay comes in the screw compressor where it is compacted and brought in its form. Squeezed out of a moulding, we get a cable of clay that has the dimension needed for the bricks.
Now the clay cable is cutted to the favoured width that is needed for each format. This function does the cutter that, in a different way of other brick manufactures, cuts only one brick at the time.
In the next step the bricks are dried. In earlier times the billets were brought to the swing-conveyer by hand and on this way first transported to their drying places and afterwards brought into the kiln. The old conveying machinery with its 2.2 km length is still on tis place through the whole manufacture but today the billets go to an elevator where they are piled up on metal battens. In this form we are able to move them with a pallet transporter.
Over the years another step in the production, the day of rest, has proved its worth. Therefore the bricks, that are ready for the driying chambers, are stored intermediately one day.
The drying happens then in one of our four drying chambers. With these the drying time, that lasted about eight weeks in earlier times, lasts today only about six days. The warmth for drying the billets comes from the own block heating works that runs up to 100 % with energy from renewable energy sources.
After finishing the drying process, the billets go to the heart of the manufacture, the circular kiln. Billet for billet they are stacked up from the floor of the kiln to the ceiling - all by manpower.
When the chamber is filled up with billets, the door is closed. In a first step an inner door, called 'Glut-Tür', is formed. With this door the oven is lighted up additionally. After some time a second door, called 'Blatt-Tür, is brought up for a savety reason and as an insolation wall, because the air between the two doors works as isolation for the heat of the kiln.
Until the billet is an adequate brick, it must be fired in the kiln. With temperatures up to 1.200°C the billets are fired to red heat.
The fire burns the whole production season. There's not a single day when it's not burgning. The burning master regulates the fire from above the circular kiln: hour after hour, day after day and month after month. The burning still takes place in its traditional way - with stone coal and wood. The burning materials are thrown into the kiln through the poking openings in the ceiling of the kiln.
After about 16 days, the billets have become real bricks. To get them out of the kiln, the two doors must be broken down. This has not to happen too fast, because the bricks could get cracks by cooling down too fast.
The getting out of the kiln happens, as also the bringing in happened, by manpower. The bricks are packed on to one of our trolleys and brought out. A selector takes over the trolley and moves it to the place where the bricks are merged.
The merging happens also by manpower. Every brick is sorted according to its colour, its size, its look and its character. Here we benefit from the expert knowledge of our staff.
The proof that earth, water, air and fire have worked together.